Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

VBar is horrid. For a good deal of the evening, I sat on an oversized leather box, clutching a glass of whiskey on the rocks, sulking. I drank slowly, let the ice melt, ill-advisedly humoring a few gentlemen who came over, made jokes, asked my name. In a place like this, dark with sparse red lighting, chain doors and music blasting at a volume that I can only describe as inhuman, nobody hears the correct name.

“Julie, hi!”

“It’s Jolie.”


“JOLIE!” By then, they might as well have lost interest. I most certainly have. I don’t like having to repeat my name, let alone shout it. Don’t people converse in non-dive bars anymore? It appears that now it is the cool thing to just drink and gawk at each other, bob heads to inconceivably bad music, until one or both parties are drunk enough to go home (or elsewhere) and fuck. It’s a bad scene, one I have done my best to avoid.

If I had any inkling what this place was going to be like, I never would have met him there. I had heard of VBar before; as a matter of fact my old hairstylist had her birthday party there last year (although I had not participated). And she was a pretty hep cat—one of those rockabilly chicks with the fuck-me-red streaks in her otherwise jet black hair. However she was not one of those chicks that felt the need to devote all her energy attempting a Bettie Page look. And she wasn’t the kind of gal you would be able to talk to for hours per se, but you could probably drink with her all night and get in all kinds of amusing trouble. So you can imagine my surprise finding myself in the middle of an ultralounge.

But there I was. At least it was a Monday. There wasn’t a disgusting amount of people there. As it happens, my date happened to be one of those people absent. I realized this about an hour after we agreed to meet. I abhorred myself for waiting that long, but I was drinking and doing my best to be open-minded, thinking perhaps he was merely running late, perhaps I might meet someone interesting? I should have known better, who is going to prove interesting in a place like that? And what was worse or better, I couldn’t decide; my date must have not been that interesting either, for this was all his idea.

Santana Row seems plucked from someplace else and sloppily glued into this town, a sort of ode to Beverly Hills, (palm trees and all!) where poor kids work and rich mothers shop and eat delicious, expensive things. Stores where clerks have the ability to actually smell plastic and cold hard cash, and follow them. Stores where clerks aren’t called clerks.

I left the bar and walked down its mock cobblestone sidewalks, windowshopping, pouting, wanting another drink. Thinking of Vincent and his unrelenting told ya so’s. Missing Drew. Hating myself for doing so.

I stood in front of Gucci for a while, staring at my reflection. It was growing late. It was cold and dark and wet there, in that little paved paradise for the wicked. I buttoned up my peacoat and sat down on a bench near a coffee shop that had long since been closed, hoping for rain. It never came.

Eventually, I collected my thoughts and walked to my car. I didn’t know if I had made a wrong decision about posting an ad, responding, or caring altogether. Perhaps I should have pursued someone else, someone that wouldn’t have tried to take me somewhere like that in the first place. Craigslist had provided many responses, plenty of nice, attractive, intelligent men who seemed more than willing to go out for a fun, easygoing date, just what the doctor had ordered indeed.

I had offered Pixies, and received house music, no doubt derived from a plethora of male djs with a backwards hat and pierced eyebrow. I was horrified just how obvious it was that my instincts had started to fail me. 

My mind trailed back to Drew, in his black Dickies jacket, sitting at my bar, taking shots with me, laughing, talking about Salvador Dali and the White Rapper Show.

“Hallelujah holla back,” he would say, teasing.

I started driving and didn’t really quite know where I was going until I showed up at his apartment. A little red Miata was in the spot I usually parked in, and even though it was possible that anyone could have parked there, it was then that my emotions overwhelmed me. Everything had slowly but surely bubbled up to the surface. The evening had quickly become a watercolor montage of flashbacks; yelling my name over the deep, maniacal bass of the bar, watching the ice melt, waves of rejection, walking around cold and lonely in the city streets, and now this little red car, another reminder of how little control I truly possessed.

At that point, I regretted the times I said no. I wanted to replace them all with affirmatives, my head dizzy and cheeks warm in Drew’s embrace. But there was no room for the fantasy. My evening was over. I burst into alligator tears and drove away, lecturing myself for the myriad of things I did wrong.

I thought I was ready for this. I know now that I am not.


2 Responses to “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…”

  1. 1 nope
    October 3, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Damn it. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the comment I was going to leave. Mostly because it is trivial, and would only make me appear pompous.

    That boy is a fool, and furthermore, no real loss for you. To truly enjoy Santana Row you cant go there with any money, but you must have excellent company. If you are interested I will meet you there. Email me.

    (Alligator tears are insincere or fake tears. They are a forgery, a hypocritical display of false emotions. there I said it. I hope you don’t hate me now)

  2. October 3, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    I’m glad your name is not Julie.

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